German sportswear brand Puma opted not to renew its sponsorship deal with the Israeli soccer team amid a global consumer boycott campaign. [Picture: Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)]
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Coalition has welcomed the move by Puma’s decision not to renew its sponsorship of the Israel Football Association (IFA). However, the German sportswear brand said the move was unrelated to a global boycott campaign targeting the company.
A spokesperson for Puma on Tuesday said the company’s contracts with several federations, including Israel would not be renewed once they expired in 2024. But Roshan Dadoo, spokesperson for the BDS Coalition, was unconvinced.
She questioned why Puma would have taken the decision amidst the genocide in Palestine and not when the movement previously urged them not to renew the contracts, before the latest round of bombardment.
“Of course, the company is not going to say that it’s given in to pressure from people around the world. But we know that it has because a year ago the contract was up for renewal, but it did not make the statement at the time [when] we were campaigning to say don’t renew the contract. Why now, in the midst of over 18 000 people having been killed in Gaza?” she asked, in an interview on Salaamedia.
Several companies operating in South Africa have also been under pressure from consumers to cease complicity in the genocide that has killed nearly 20 000 people in Gaza. Puma, a multinational brand with operations in South Africa, was also on the boycott list.
Dadoo hailed the latest development as a victory for the consumer boycott campaign. She further described it as a potent weapon against complicity.
“It shows that when you collectively target a company for a very complicit action – sponsoring the apartheid Israeli national soccer team – you can win. It is a weapon that we have as international solidarity activists to wield against companies that are complicit with apartheid Israel.”
Now, she said, the attention needed to be focused on getting the Israeli national soccer team “kicked out of FIFA, as Russia was – very quickly – after the invasion of Ukraine”.
“We know it’s possible,” she said.